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In the age of touch-screen smartphones, people might find it strange that the Sonim XP3 flip phone was released in 2019. But there’s still a place for these old-fashioned devices, and this model is a cut above the rest. Read our review all about how the Sonim XP3 is one of the most unique and highly-rated flip phones on the market right now.
Review of Sonim XP3
At first glance, the Sonim XP3 resembles a standard flip phone. Although bulkier, it still fits in your palm and pockets comfortably.
What stands out most with the XP3 is the rugged clamshell-style design. The original flip phones were pretty solid, but not many can claim to match the Somin for toughness. The entire body is protected with polymer.
Furthermore, the phone is waterproof – it can withstand spills and still function. It’s rated at IP-68, MIL-STD-810G. By looks alone, you can tell it’s more than capable of withstanding some serious punishment.
Drops, blunt force impact, and scratches will barely leave any marks.
The back cover is secured to the phone via several screws. If you don’t want the device to feel too bulky, you can always remove it. While you might find that troublesome, Sonim wanted to protect the phone’s internal components while also recognizing the need for less bulk.
A resolution of 320 x 240 is standard for flip phones as these old-style devices don’t require anything more. The XP3’s screen is 2.6 inches wide and employs Quarter Video Graphics Array (QVGA) technology – the perfect choice for screens of this size.
Keeping to the ultra-rugged theme of the XP3, the screen is made of Corning Gorilla Glass 3, which passes military standards. It takes a lot to scratch the screen, making accidental bumps inconsequential.
There’s a 5MP rear camera located behind the main display that’s perfectly adequate for snapping pictures. The videos come out at 720p30, which is better than most modern flip phones out there.
The phone’s internal memory caps out at 8GB, though you only gain access to half of it. Fortunately, there’s a microSD slot that accepts cards up to 128GB. That’s more than enough for hours of videos or several thousand images.
As a modern flip phone, the XP3 has 1GB of RAM. Again, that’s more than enough for any tasks you might throw at it.
Some flip phones barely have any RAM, sometimes as low as 80MB. The Sonim XP3 far outperforms these weaker devices.
The Sonim XP3 comes with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 210 processor. While not nearly as powerful as larger models, it performs smoothly while ensuring the phone doesn’t run out of battery too quickly.
While the XP3 is a flip phone, it’s capable of connecting to 4G-LTE networks across multiple bands. Therefore, you don’t have to worry about getting another SIM card. Your current one will suffice.
If you don’t have data, you can always use the Wi-Fi feature and connect to a nearby network.
The battery is a removable 1,500mAh unit. It can last almost 18 days on standby, which is also enough for about seven hours of continuous talking.
There’s also a Push-to-Talk button, allowing you to treat the phone somewhat like a walkie-talkie. It’s perfect for communicating with others for a short duration of time.
Overall, the Sonim XP3 is an excellent flip phone, worthy of being called one of the best on the market. It doesn’t have many flaws and fulfills its purpose exceptionally well. We give it a 4.7/5 rating.
Pros and Cons of Sonim XP3
Here are the benefits and disadvantages of the Sonim XP3:
- Incredibly tough construction
- Large expandable memory
- Push-to-talk button
- Small RAM size
- Camera can be better
- Lower battery capacity
Key Specifications of the Sonim XP3
Size: 112mm x 58mm x 27mm
Ports: USB-C, 3.5mm audio jack, charging port
- Class I, Div 2, Groups A, B, C, D
- Class II, Div 2, Groups F, G
- Class III
Operating System: Proprietary Sonim OS
Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 210, quad-core, 1.1GHz
- LTE: B1/B2/B3/B4/B5/B8/B12/B13/B14/B25/B26/B38/B66/B41(HPUE)
- UMTS B1/B2/B4/B5/B8
- CDMA/EVDO: BC0/BC1/BC10
- GSM: 850/900/1800/1900MHz
WiFi: 802.11a/b/g/n/r at 2.4GHz and 5GHz
- 1GB of RAM
- 8GB internal memory, 4GB user accessible
- Up to 128GB external memory via microSD card
- 2.6 inches
- 320 x 240 resolution
Battery: 1,500mAh Li-Ion removable
History of Device and Sonim Company
Let review where the Sonim XP3 comes from. Sonim Technologies was founded by Ram Chandran, Isaac Eteminan, Anush Gopalan, Jai Kumar, Sudu Srinivasan, and Joakim Wiklund in Austin, Texas.
Since launching in 1999, the company has been in the communications sector, selling products such as push-to-talk, man-down safety devices, and more.
Today, the company designs rugged phones for use by the general public, including smartphones and flip phones. These products are designed to be tough and withstand immense punishment. The XP3 most certainly falls into this category of phones.
All of these devices comply with strict guidelines before earning the title of “rugged.” They pass several standards, including waterproof and military toughness tests.
The Sonim XP3 was first released in 2019 with 4G on AT&T and Sprint. Later, it would gain compatibility with other carriers.
The flip phone was relatively popular and gained positive ratings, and it remains strong today.
However, it was later replaced by the Sonim XP3plus.
Features of Note
These are some of the Sonim XP3’s noteworthy features:
Push-to-Talk Functionality and Button
At the left side of the Sonim XP3 is a long button lined with yellow plastic. Anyone can program that button to launch an app or function of your choosing. But it was primarily designed with Push-to-Talk in mind. It’s large and tactile enough to be operated in gloves, even in unfavorable conditions.
Push-to-Talk allows users to contact someone else effortlessly. It’s much faster than speed-dialing or fumbling on a touch screen. All it takes is a single press and hold to start calling for assistance.
Naturally, this feature has proved immensely helpful to those working in dangerous environments.
Sonim SecureAudio 3.5mm Connector
The 3.5mm audio jack is a blessing for those who need audio accessories like earbuds. However, a standard audio jack won’t prevent your cables from being susceptible to catching onto something. It’s essential to remain in contact in dangerous environments, and you might miss a crucial message.
To address this concern, Sonim developed the SecureAudio 3.5mm Connector.
The Connector requires specialized adapters that stick to the phone via pogo pins. The adapters also have a tightening screw to ensure they stay in place. At the end of the adapter is a 3.5mm female port, to which you can attach your headsets and more.
With this feature, you can rest assured that your gear stays attached to the phone.
Sonim XP3 Loud Speakers
Unlike your typical phone speakers, the Sonim XP3’s built-in counterparts are rated to output sound at 100dB and even more. You can hear everything, even if you were standing beside a helicopter, or blaring sirens, or in the middle of a thunderstorm.
Loudness increases clarity, and hearing the exact words your colleague says is essential during emergencies.
Maintaining communication isn’t a simple matter in dangerous environments. Hence, Sonim implemented speakers with this much power. You need to be able to respond no matter what – lives could be at risk.
Sonim XP3 Rear Display Screen
Other than the main display, theSonim XP3 has a rear screen which relays the following information:
- Current date
- Connection status
- Battery levels
If the last two don’t appear, then you must’ve disabled them.
While we talked about how you can hear others speaking even in loud and chaotic environments, the Sonim XP3 also has noise cancellation features. When you speak to someone, they can hear you loud and clear, even in a noisy location. Even in loud environments like heavy metal concerts or construction sites, others can hear you just fine.
As you can see, Sonim designed the XP3 with clear communication in mind. You can talk to and hear others in any location. Keeping in touch with your fellow first responders becomes more manageable when both features work together.
FirstNet and B14 Connectivity
FirstNet is a network for first responders and other organizations that save people’s lives. It allows a first responder to reach someone even in an emergency. Only specialized devices can use FirstNet, and there won’t be any congestion or risk of a downed network.
On the other hand, Band 14 is a low-frequency band for emergency communications in the US. The 20MHz within the 700MHz band penetrates walls and obstacles better. Compared to other frequencies, you’ll find reaching out to others for assistance much more manageable, as other signals may get blocked.
Thus, you can call for help quickly just by broadcasting in Band 14.
The Sonim XP3 can access both FirstNet and Band 14, as it’s also to allow for emergency communications. Compared to regular cell lines, both methods are almost instantaneous.
Speed is of the essence in emergencies, and both FirstNet and Band 14 are much faster than other methods.
The company’s three-year comprehensive warranty covers every Sonim XP3. When you have a problem, contact customer service to get the phone fixed or even replaced. The warranty eliminates almost the entire replacement bill.
Not many phone companies offer warranties this generous.
We like to make sure our review of the Sonim XP3 is fair. Sonim isn’t the only company making rugged flip phones. Here are some comparative devices and how the XP3 measures up to them.
The Kyocera DuraXV is a rugged flip phone often compared to the Sonim XP3. They share many features, such as noise-canceling, Military Standard ratings, and more. There’s also very little difference when it comes to their hardware performance.
While the DuraXV has a slightly better waterproof rating at IPX-68, the XP3 has more expandable memory and a slightly larger screen.
Both phones have the same 1,500mAh battery capacity and around the same talk time, approximately seven hours of continuous conversation. However, the Kyocera DuraXV does lag behind in the memory department.
Overall, the Kyocera DuraXV and Sonim XP3 are neck and neck. The differences come down to maximum memory capacity and other features.
The CAT S22 is another rugged flip phone that can compare with the Sonim XP3. It has a larger battery, more RAM and internal memory, and a slightly larger screen. Notably, it also uses Android 11 Go Edition.
The Sonim XP3 and CAT S22 share some rugged ratings, though the XP3 has several more under its belt. Otherwise, you can rely on both in hazardous environments.
However, the S22 is more expensive and somewhat bulky. It makes for an excellent secondary phone nevertheless. Even so, the Sonim XP3 is much smaller and compact, letting you carry more in your pockets or backpack.
Pantech Breeze 3
The Pantech Breeze 3 isn’t a rugged flip phone, though it’s pretty affordable compared to the Sonim XP3. In most aspects, the Breeze 3 is inferior to the XP3.
For example, the XP3 is better in aspects like internal memory, connectivity, and battery power. It can also connect to 4G networks while the Breeze 3 can’t.
The only reason you would get a Breeze 3 is if you don’t want 4G network capability or a rugged phone costs too much.
Talk to an Expert
If you’re unsure which flip phone is perfect for your needs, you can reach out to us and talk to an expert. We’ll be more than happy to listen to you and pick an excellent product that fits your needs just right.
Sonim XP3 Summary
Lets quickly recap this Sonim XP3 review. Even after two years and a replacement model, the XP3 is still a reliable rugged phone for those who work in dangerous environments. It’s more than strong enough to handle whatever you can throw at it – and then some.
The Sonim XP3 is also quite affordable, but packs a lot of punch for its price tag. With this many features, you’ll be in good hands should you find yourself needing assistance in an emergency.